Exercise-related Injuries:  Participant
Reported Frequency, Management and Perceptions of their Consequences

A, Kingsbury SR, Conaghan PG. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2013 Aug 27

Take Home Message:  Middle-aged recreational athletes display
dissatisfaction with health care pathways for treatment of sports-related
injuries and have a limited awareness of proper management and long-term
consequences of such injuries.

athletes are rarely the center of investigation when it comes to sports
medicine research, yet they also suffer injuries and need proper care to return
to their physical activity.  More
importantly, these athletes may not be aware of proper injury management or the
long-term consequences of their injuries, such as osteoarthritis.  If we understood how a recreational athlete
perceives and manages an injury we could develop education strategies to reduce
the risk of future consequences and encourage his/her safe return to physical
activity. Therefore, Grice et al. explored the attitudes of nonelite, middle-aged,
recreational athletes towards treatment and consequences of injuries. The authors held focus group discussions to investigate
sports related-injuries of 24 recreational athletes training towards events
such as a marathon.  All of these
athletes previously suffered an injury related to their training, which
restricted their normal participation. Online surveys were also taken by 1002
physically active participants who exercised at least 3 times a week.  Over half of these participants reported
having suffered an exercise-related injury. The focus group had a reluctant
attitude towards seeking treatment for injuries as they reported they would
more likely seek advice from teammates or friends, or even from online resources
before visiting a general practitioner.  Furthermore,
the focus group had negative attitudes towards medical resources for their
injuries.  Both groups expressed concerns
about the short-term consequences of their injuries and sought advice as to
preventing re-occurrence  but the focus group was less interested in long-term implications
of their injuries because they viewed the benefits of exercise to outweigh these
possible risks. Lastly, those who had been injured in the past were less likely
to seek proper health care management and were more likely to continue exercise
even with an injury. 

who previously sought treatment for an injury reported they would most less likely
to seek treatment for a sports-related injury in the future.  This may coincide with the focus group’s negative
view that general practitioners are the first step to seeking treatment, yet
they are limited in knowledge and less effective in treatment as compared to sports
medicine specialists.  By not seeking
appropriate treatment these athletes may be poorly managing their injuries,
which could lead to long-term health problems such as osteoarthritis.  This is especially concerning considering all
participants in this study displayed a lack of knowledge of these risks.  Although this investigation shows interesting
insight into the attitudes of recreational athletes in regard to injuries, it was
carried out in the United Kingdom and may not be generalizable to the United
States.  However, it would be interesting
to explore this concept in the states to see if similar attitudes exist and if there
is a large need for education about injury management and consequences in
recreational athletes.  This study should
help us remember the importance of educating recreational athletes so as to
help them safely return to their physical activity while possibly reducing their
risk of developing future health problems.

Questions for
Discussion: Do you think Americans of a similar recreational level have the
same attitudes towards injury management and risks as displayed in this study?
If yes, how would you suggest we begin to tackle this difficulty? 

by: Jacqueline Phillips
by: Jeffrey Driban


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Grice A, Kingsbury SR, & Conaghan PG (2013). Nonelite exercise-related injuries: Participant reported frequency, management and perceptions of their consequences. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports PMID: 24000831